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Ricciardo: I've only talked to Red Bull

NEWS STORY
26/04/2018

Daniel Ricciardo has dismissed rumours that he already has a pre-arrangement with Ferrari for 2019, insisting that thus far he has only held discussions with Red Bull.

Out of contract at the end of the year, many consider the popular Australian to be key to what could be an intriguing game of F1 musical chairs in the second half of the year.

However, speaking in Baku, the Australian down played much of the media speculation, insisting that no deals have been done and that what he is really looking for is a car with which he can win the title.

"I've only had talks with Red Bull," he told reporters. "Even last year, we've been pretty open with each other and I think they're pretty interested in keeping me. So we've had some talks, and yeh, I'm aware of other reports, but there hasn't been anything else, so they're not true, at least up until now.

Asked if he would be happy to be in the same team as Lewis Hamilton, he replied: "Obviously, I'd love to be challenged against the best and Lewis is arguably up there, so that would be a good challenge.

"Obviously I've got a good challenge now in Max," he added, "and I had Seb, so yeh, I don't want to say it's just Lewis I'm looking for, but that would be a good challenge."

Asked if a move to Ferrari might see him in a role similar to Kimi Raikkonen, as witnessed in China where the Finn's race was effectively sacrificed in a bid to aid teammate Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo said: "There are certainly things, wherever I may be or go, that I would always make sure there was some clarity, I wouldn't go somewhere where I felt I didn't have a chance, at the moment that's really what I'm chasing, trying to be world champion, that's my goal, my dream, something I really believe I'm capable of, so if someone said 'we want you here but you can't do this', that's not an attractive option to me.

"I don't know what's going on at other teams," he added. "At Red Bull there's always been clarity and I would say fairness, since I've been there, and that's been a nice environment and I would expect that environment everywhere.

The Australian was keen to dismiss talk of a 'pre-arrangement' with Ferrari. "That's not true," he said. "I can say that."

Asked if Lewis Hamilton's shock move from McLaren to Mercedes for 2013 caused curiosity were he to make similarly controversial move, Ricciardo replied: "Curiosity will not overcome the fact in terms of what options I will have and which car will be the fastest, which is obviously top of my list. I wouldn't go somewhere else just for a change," he added. "If I did move on I'd obviously want to make sure it was something that I feel would be potentially better."

Asked if he feels a loyalty to Red Bull, he admitted: "There will always be a bit of that, for sure. It's ten years since I was in the Red Bull Junior Team, so it's a long time. They really set it all up for me, to make all this happen, so there will always be that. But at some point you've got to weigh up what does what, regardless, there will always be something. I'll always show love nonetheless.

Finally, asked what he is looking for in a contract, he said: "The real requirement is to put myself in a position to win the world title. That doesn't mean that where I am currently is not that place, but I think that's why I'm trying to take my time with it.

"It's still too early," he continued. "Obviously, we won last time out but realistically we need to win more than just once a season to fight for a title. So that's why I'm going to take my time, because that's the priority. The financial and all that are behind that."

The Australian was also keen to play down suggestions that the future direction of the sport would influence his decision.

"We're aware of it," he replied, "but I don't know if I'm concerned about it. I feel like every year something changes as in like... life changes. So looking beyond, two years after this seems like a long, way away. So that's more for that. I'm not necessarily concerned about the sport or where it's going, for me, personally, thinking about 2021 now seems like a long time away."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Baku, here.

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1. Posted by nonickname, 26/04/2018 16:20

"He is one of the few truly honest guys out there. I wish him well.Any team would be lucky to have him.
Of course my ideal team would be Alonso and Riccardo.... in any team"

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2. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 26/04/2018 15:05

"I guess the decision will come when Red Bull confirm its engine / power unit for the coming years, which has to be by the end of May."

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